There are over 100 million disabled Indians who have no access to services. Despite legislation only 2% disabled have so far been covered. The North South Dialogue (NSD) was conceptualized by Dr. Mithu Alur and ADAPT – Able Disable All People Together (formerly SSI – Spastic Society of India) to explore models of reaching out to these people, strive for inclusive education and use the dialogue to build partnerships between Indian and global organization, learning from one another, exchanging ideas and supporting one another in the journey for inclusion.

In the past 11 years of its existence and 3 previous versions (2001, 2003 and 2005), NSD has done these and much more. It has seen global speakers from countries like UK, Canada, USA, Germany, Brazil, Ireland, Russia, Hong Kong, South Africa, Australia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, Mongolia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Tajikistan, Tibet etc. Representatives of organizations as diverse as the governments of various countries, to those of World Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF, CIDA, civil society orgs, individual activists have participated and exchanged experiences from diverse cultures, contexts, resources and policies.

Overall the conference has not only been successful in generating innovative ideas for the disabled and their inclusion, but in also pushing forward disabled friendly policy and consciousness in the Indian sub-continent. The concrete steps have helped impact the lives of millions of disabled in a positive manner.

A fountainhead of ideas, it has become a must attend event for government officials at state and central level, NGO’s, activists and those providing services to the disabled, family members who want to do more, practitioners, academicians etc. not just from India and the Indian subcontinent, but also from the rest of the world who want to understand the Indian condition and share experiences from their own culture.

The 4th conference entitled ‘Implementing Tools of Change for Inclusion’ will be held in Goa between 19th and 23rd February. With 200 participants and speakers, it is expected to be a veritable mix of learning and inspiration, networking and interaction with participation from countries like UK, Germany, USA, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, Mongolia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Tajikistan, Tibet and of course, India.

Those interested in participating and knowing more about the conference, its purpose, costs etc. can contact: Mrs. Diane Saldanha, Conference Co-ordinator, ADAPT, K C Marg, Bandra Reclamation, Bandra (West), Mumbai – 400050. India. You can email [email protected] or call +91-22-26443666/88 or fax: +91-22-26436848.